Community vigil honors 9-year-old murder victim in Miami-Dade

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A group of Miami-Dade residents met to pray for a boy who was the victim of an unthinkable crime. He was wearing a Captain America T-shirt when he drowned, so several mourners brought toys to his memorial on Thursday night. Many of the people who attended the vigil had never met him, but they were grieving.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, detectives used a police dog to continue to gather evidence in the case of the mother who is accused of drowning her 9-year-old son in Miami-Dade County. It’s a case that many families in South Florida have been following closely.

“It’s just horrible,” said Malena Larriega, who organized the vigil. “I’m a mother, a grandma, I can’t imagine ... this was too hard to digest.”

Patricia Ripley reported two men had abducted Alejandro Ripley on May 21st. Hours later in the morning, detectives learned his body was in a pond-like canal at the Miccosukee Golf and Country Club in the quiet Kendale Lakes neighborhood. His mother confessed to the drowning and said he was in a “better place,” according to the arrest report.

Detectives are accusing Patricia Ripley, 45, right of killing her 9-year-old son, Alejandro. (Miami-Dade Department of Corrections and Miami-Dade Police Department)

The residents of the Kendall Acres Condominiums helped detectives find video showing Ripley pushing Alejandro into a canal and running away. Alejandro is a non-verbal patient diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. He couldn’t tell the witnesses his mother had attempted to kill him. Detectives said she succeeded in her second attempt May 21st.

Two women hug near the small lake where a 9-year-old boy turned up dead Friday in Kendale Lakes. (Local 10 News)

Detectives arrested the 45-year-old mother on May 23rd. She is being held without bond and faces a first-degree murder charge and a premeditated attempted murder charge. Miami-Dade County Court records show Patricia Ripley’ is set to appear in court for an arraignment hearing at 9 p.m., June 12th.


About the Authors:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.